Yes – The Yes Album – Panegoric Recordings – (audio-only Blu-ray [2.0 & 5.1] + CD) GYRBD40106 [4/21/14] *****:
(Jon Anderson – vocals, percussion; Chris Squire – bass, vocals; Steve Howe – acoustic, electric guitars, vocals; Tony Kaye – piano, Hammond organ, Moog synthesizer; Bill Bruford – drums, percussion)
In 1971, Yes was poised to break thru as a commercial success. The first two albums, Yes (1969) and Time And a Word (1970) were early representations of an emerging progressive rock movement. The first lineup change occurred as Steve Howe replaced Peter Banks on guitar. After a session of songwriting and rehearsals at a farmhouse in South Molton, Devon, the band adjourned to Langley Studios and recorded The Yes Album (1971). This album (whose title reflected Jon Anderson’s assertion that it was the first true Yes album) would be a window into the group’s future. Their combination of extended song length and pop accessibility earned them a first Platinum Record.
Yes had a reputation for state-of-the-art and surround recording technology. Steve Wilson has re-mastered The Yes Album to several formats, including two audio-Blu-ray 5.1 mixes (PCM & lossless surround). The audio quality is superb on both mixes. As the album opens, there is a pounding front channel rock intro to “Yours Is No Disgrace”, followed by a church organ (Tony Kaye) fill pouring out of the surround speakers. After Steve Howe adds a jazzy guitar riff, Jon Anderson’s dulcet, harmonious vocals kick in with a nice assist from Chris Squire’s loping bass line. This transitional approach permeates the composition. There are staccato rhythm breaks and interesting chord shifts. The intensity builds and then abates seamlessly. Howe adds some electronic-laden guitar effects that bounce around the speakers, and Bill Bruford ‘s drumming keeps everything precise. Shifting gears, “Clap” features the acoustic guitar wizardry of Howe. A live recording, the piece is straightforward, but with considerable texture. “The Starship Trooper” is a visceral display of Yes’ music. On the first movement, “Life Seeker” the emotion of Anderson’s voice is complemented by the diverse rhythmic structures. “Disillusion” adopts a jauntier folk vibe, but the band flow and chemistry is strong. Anderson’s unique voice shimmers on lead and in background. The finale “Wurm” is an instrumental jam that is anchored in verse repetition and progresses in its intensity.
Perhaps the most recognized Yes “movement” song is “I’ve Seen All Good People (Your Move/All Good People)”. After the a capella opening, Howe joins in with a lyrical, elegant acoustic guitar and “Your Move” is underway. Again the pure tonality of the guitar is luxurious in the 5.1 mix. Anderson contributes a scintillating lead vocal while a steady pulsating beat drives the music. “All Good People” executes a clever repeat of a single line. The dual-pronged effect of voice and heavy organ (in a descending chord structure) is potently hypnotic. Kaye switches to a classical piano opening on “The Venture”. The tune is a music hall-like pop effort that has a nimble syncopated jam (piano, bass, electric guitar and drums) at the end. The finale, “A Perpetual Change’ is unadulterated progressive rock with some trademark shifts.
There are many bonus tracks that will delight dedicated Yes fans (and less fanatical ones). On the Blu-ray, there is a studio version (stereo and mono) of “Your Move”, and a stereo instrumental mix of the album. On the “alternate” album, there is a longer studio version of “Clap” that Steve Howe transcends. Additionally, there are several live numbers from the 1971 tour (“America”, “I’ve Seen All Good People”, “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “Perpetual Change”). The bonus material underscores the intrinsic quality of this recording. But the 5.1 resolution (notably the lossless DTS) is setting a new standard for re-engineered rock music. The deluxe two-disc edition includes a mini-vinyl replica gatefold sleeve with individual sleeves, new liner notes and some rare photos.
The Yes Album is a real sonic achievement!
5.1 Surround Mixes (24/96 MLP Lossless DTS 96/24): Yours Is No Disgrace; Clap; Starship Trooper (Life Seeker/Disillusion/Wurm); I’ve Seen All Good People (Your Move/All Good People); A Venture; Perpetual Change
2014 Stereo Mixes (24/96 PCM Lossless): Yours Is No Disgrace; Clap; Starship Trooper (Life Seeker/Disillusion/Wurm); I’ve Seen All Good People (Your Move/All Good People); A Venture; Perpetual Change
Original Stereo Mixes (PCM Stereo 24/192): Yours Is No Disgrace; Clap; Starship Trooper (Life Seeker/Disillusion/Wurm); I’ve Seen All Good People (Your Move/All Good People); A Venture; Perpetual Change
Additional Material : Alternate Album: Yours Is No Disgrace (Live, London 1971); Clap (studio version); Starship Trooper (Life seeker single edit); I’ve Seen All Good People (Live, London 1971); A Venture (extended mix); Perpetual Change (Live, New Haven 1971)
Single versions, edits and live (PCM Stereo 24/96): Your Move (single version, stereo; Clap (single version, stereo); America (Live, London 1971); It’s Love (Live, London 1971); Your Move (single version, mono)
2014 Stereo Instrumental Mixes (PCM Stereo 24/96): Yours Is No Disgrace; Clap; Starship trooper (Life Seeker/Disillusion/Wurm); I’ve seen All Good People (Your Move/All Good People); A Venture; Perpetual Change
UK Vinyl Transfers (AI/BI UK Vinyl Transfers PCM Stereo 24/96): Yours Is No Disgrace; Clap; Starship Trooper (Life Seeker/Disillusion/Wurm); I’ve Seen All Good People (Your Move/ All Good People); A Venture; Perpetual Change